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Articles written by Nick Reynolds

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  • Committee revives controversial gun bill in surprise vote

    Nick Reynolds,|Jun 3, 2021

    The Joint Agriculture Committee Tuesday revived a controversial gun rights bill on a split-second, unannounced vote moments before the committee adjourned in a move lambasted by critics for its lack of transparency. The bill, last session’s Senate File 81 – Second Amendment Preservation Act, would prevent agents of the state from enforcing any federal law or regulation that restricts a citizen’s right to carry firearms. A heavily amended version of the legislation passed the Senate by an overwhelming margin in March, but died without a heari...

  • Lawmakers tackle forest health

    Nick Reynolds, Casper Star-Tribune Via Wyoming News Exchange|Feb 18, 2021

    CASPER — Every year, the Wyoming state forester is statutorily required to update the Legislature on the health of Wyoming’s forests. In a typical year for members of the Joint Committee on Agriculture, State and Public Lands & Water Resources, the report is a valuable resource for identifying problems that face the state’s forestlands, encouraging cooperation between state and federal agencies and, potentially, developing solutions to address those problems. 2020, however, was not a typical yea...

  • Lummis says she wanted to 'shine light' on election irregularities

    Nick Reynolds, Casper Star-Tribune Via Wyoming News Exchange|Jan 14, 2021

    CASPER — Breaking with a vast majority of her colleagues in the Senate, Sen. Cynthia Lummis voted to overturn election results in Pennsylvania, one of two states being contested by conservative members of Congress early Thursday morning. Lummis’ vote – which represented one of just a handful of dissenting votes in the 92-8 result – lent credence to unsubstantiated claims by President Donald Trump that the vote there was rigged in favor of President-elect Joe Biden. But it also set her apart from most of the holdout Republicans who pledged...

  • State seeks extension for spending federal stimulus money

    Nick Reynolds, Casper Star-Tribune Via Wyoming News Exchange|Oct 29, 2020

    CASPER – Wyoming leaders are hoping for more money from the federal government as Congress remains gridlocked over an additional round of stimulus funding. The state is working to spend the remainder of the $1.25 billion in federal relief granted earlier this year before its Dec. 30 deadline. Still, Wyoming leaders are hoping for more time to spend the money. Simultaneously, they are looking for additional funds to help bolster the state amid a structural decline in revenues driven by woes in the extractive energies. The feeling is a common one...

  • Gun rights group draws ire of top lawmaker

    Nick Reynolds, Casper Star-Tribune Via Wyoming News Exchange|Jul 30, 2020

    CASPER — A growing group of Wyoming lawmakers — including the vice president of the Senate — are coming after one of the state’s most aggressive gun rights groups after it lodged efforts to discredit incumbent Republican lawmakers in a number of vulnerable districts ahead of next month’s Republican primary. The group, Wyoming Gun Owners, has been a consistent presence in Wyoming’s politics, presenting itself to residents as an uncompromising and unapologetically aggressive proponent for the Second Amendment in Cheyenne. Throughout the last tw...

  • Gillette police cite Albany county GOP chair in fight

    Nick Reynolds, Casper Star-Tribune Via Wyoming News Exchange|Jul 2, 2020

    CASPER — Gillette police have cited Michael Pearce with assault and battery after the Albany County Republican Party chair allegedly instigated a fight with Carbon County Republican Party Chairman Joey Correnti that resulted in Pearce being hospitalized. Pearce told the Star-Tribune this weekend that he and Correnti had been involved in a fight during the Wyoming Republican Convention in Gillette that left Pearce with a broken ankle, dislocated shoulder and injured neck. Correnti has not responded to requests for comment. A Gillette Police Depa...

  • Lawmakers to prepare emergency legislation

    Nick Reynolds, Casper Star-Tribune Via Wyoming News Exchange|Apr 16, 2020

    CASPER — Legislative leaders voted unanimously on Thursday to pursue several pieces of emergency legislation, all but guaranteeing the Wyoming Legislature will meet in its first special session since 2004. In a conference call with Management Council on Thursday morning, Gov. Mark Gordon outlined a tentative agenda for state lawmakers in the coming months to begin to immediately stabilize the state’s economy – which is projected to experience revenue declines anywhere between $555 million and $2.8 billion due to COVID-19 and an overseas price w... Full story

  • During budget presentation, Gordon says he's willing to look at lodging tax

    Nick Reynolds, Casper Star-Tribune Via Wyoming News Exchange|Dec 12, 2019

    CASPER — Gov. Mark Gordon told lawmakers Monday that he would be “willing” to consider a statewide lodging tax if it came across his desk this winter. However, in his first budget presentation to members of the Joint Appropriations Committee this week, Gordon declined to entertain any other tax legislation, instead focusing his first hearing on cost-savings as the state faces a future of declining revenues. Kicking off the first of several weeks of budget hearings, Gordon seemed largely on the same page as leaders of the budget-making commi...

  • Educators criticize release of salary info

    Seth Klamann and Nick Reynolds, Casper Star-Tribune Via Wyoming News Exchange|Dec 12, 2019

    CASPER — The names and salaries of every school district employee in Wyoming will be released this month after a request from a state senator, a move that’s drawn criticism from educators across the state. “There is a big gap between what I’m legally bound to do and what is the right thing to do,” said State Superintendent Jillian Balow. “And I have difficulty figuring out and reconciling how the release of names that intrudes on the privacy of citizens in our Wyoming community, that potentially puts their security, safety and other aspec...

  • Legislators to review nuclear waste storage plan

    Nick Reynolds, Casper Star-Tribune Via Wyoming News Exchange|Oct 31, 2019

    CASPER — Despite economic doubts and numerous remaining hurdles, state lawmakers continue to move forward with discussions to potentially bring a temporary nuclear waste storage facility to Wyoming. At a meeting next month in Casper, the Wyoming Legislature’s Joint Committee on Minerals, Business and Economic Development will be taking up the idea of creating an exploratory committee within Gov. Mark Gordon’s office and the Department of Environmental Quality to explore the concept’s future in Wyoming. Despite previous estimates that it woul...

  • Former CEO sued over use of 'BeefChain' trademark

    Nick Reynolds, Casper Star-Tribune Via Wyoming News Exchange|Sep 19, 2019

    CASPER — A company co-owned by two Wyoming legislators is suing its former CEO over the use of a trademark attributed to the blockchain-based agricultural company they founded together. In a complaint filed Aug. 30 in federal court, well-known GOP financier and Wyoming Blockchain Coalition founding member Robert Jennings is accused by his former partners in the company, American Certified Brands LLC, of posing as the owner of a brand owned by the company, BeefChain, in an attempt to damage the company’s reputation after being dismissed fro...

  • Crossover voting, voter ID bills killed

    Nick Reynolds, Casper Star-Tribune Via Wyoming News Exchange|Sep 19, 2019

    CASPER — Lawmakers on Monday defeated two controversial bills that would have had significant implications on Wyoming’s elections. The bills — one to eliminate the practice of crossover voting in primary elections, another to combat voter fraud by requiring photo identification at the polls — have received considerable attention since first appearing last fall, inspired by national concerns over voter fraud and the revelation that thousands of voters purposefully switched their party affiliations to participate in the 2018 Republican primari...

  • Legislators revive gaming commission proposal

    Nick Reynolds, Casper Star-Tribune Via Wyoming News Exchange|Jul 25, 2019

    CASPER — Just three weeks ago, members of the Wyoming Legislature’s Joint Committee of Travel, Recreation and Cultural Resources decided it was giving up on an attempt to regulate gambling in the Cowboy State. Legislative leadership had other ideas, however. At the behest of the Management Council, state lawmakers revived the prospect of a statewide gaming commission on Monday, bringing back from the dead a proposal that would create a regulatory body to oversee everything from poker games and horse racing to games of skill and sports bet...

  • New laws take effect

    Nick Reynolds, Casper Star-Tribune Via Wyoming News Exchange|Jul 4, 2019

    CASPER — The first week of July is often a slow one in state government, shortened by a federal holiday and marked by a light legislative schedule. However, the first week of July also means something else in Wyoming – the time many of the laws passed by the Legislature this winter finally go into effect. As the clock hit midnight on Monday, more than 200 laws passed during the 2019 legislative session went into effect, impacting the lives of Wyoming residents in some ways major, some ways not. A common centerpiece in many homes around Wyo...

  • Hunting ruling raises questions

    Chris Aadland and Nick Reynolds, Casper Star-Tribune Via Wyoming News Exchange|Jul 4, 2019

    CASPER — A recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling affirming tribal hunting rights has Wyoming officials worried about the potential effect of unregulated off -reservation hunting — a concern some tribal officials dismissed as “misguided.” With the case likely still far from settled, state officials told lawmakers on Thursday during a meeting in Gillette that they were concerned the ruling could complicate wildlife management if more tribal members, including citizens of the Eastern Shoshone Tribe, begin off -reservation hunting in Wyoming. The wor...

  • Voter crossover, ID bills get interim review

    Nick Reynolds, Casper Star-Tribune Via Wyoming News Exchange|May 16, 2019

    CASPER — A pair of failed bills from the 2019 general session intended to improve the “integrity” of Wyoming elections will be getting a second look from state lawmakers this interim. The two bills – one to require photo identification at the polls, the other to limit the practice of “crossover voting” in the state’s primary elections – will be reworked by the Wyoming Legislature’s Joint Committee on Corporations, Elections and Political Subdivisions and, potentially, introduced during the 2020 budget session, committee members decided at its M...

  • Wyoming public sector wage growth tops nation

    Nick Reynolds, Casper Star-Tribune Via Wyoming News Exchange|Apr 25, 2019

    CASPER — Employees in Wyoming’s public sector have experienced the largest rate of wage and benefits growth over the private sector in the entire nation, according to a new paper from a Washington D.C. think tank. Federal wage data compiled in an analysis released this week by the conservative American Enterprise Institute shows that Wyoming’s public sector workers earned roughly $39,000 more in combined wages and benefits than they did two decades ago, while those in the private sector experienced gains of less than $9000 during that same...

  • Senator introduces bill to keep national parks open in future shutdowns

    Nick Reynolds, Casper Star-Tribune Via Wyoming News Exchange|Jan 31, 2019

    CHEYENNE — In the throes of the longest government shutdown in the history of the United States, Sen. Charlie Scott, R-Casper, was sitting down for breakfast and reading a newspaper. Workers for the U.S. Department of the Interior had been furloughed, and in the national parks of the West, things were beginning to go into disarray. In Yellowstone, roads went uncleared and in Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado, trash began piling up, with those responsible for cleaning it nowhere to be found. Fortunately, it was wintertime and v...

  • Legislature gears up for general session

    Nick Reynolds, Casper Star-Tribune Via Wyoming News Exchange|Jan 10, 2019

    CASPER — Over the next 40 days, members of the Wyoming Legislature will consider between 400 and 500 bills. Some of those bills will have been talked about, poked and prodded for months, originating in committees comprised of seasoned lawmakers with serious policy chops and the institutional knowledge to understand how to dress a piece of legislation — as the popular saying goes — to get it ready for “prime time.” Other pieces of legislation might be partisan-driven, or of dubious legal merit, and may have no hope for passage. Others might attr...

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